Some days, I look in the mirror and don’t even recognize myself.
I see lines that tell stories I don’t want to have starred in.
Other days, I feel like I could almost be normal. Finding joy and contentment in so many blessings in my life, without that always-present little tug on my heart that says this life is just nearly perfect.
Most days, though…I feel a bit of both. I look at Luke and can’t believe I live this life. Then I look at pictures or am triggered by something as simple as seeing a mom of three boys goofing off at the grocery store and can’t believe I live this life.
Most days, I find myself jumbled. Knowing what I feel in my heart and mind, but not always being able to say it the way I want to. Last month’s article is a perfect example. I know what I meant. I know there are several others who reached out to me publicly and privately because they also knew what I meant. I also know that it ruffled feathers and made some people uncomfortable and perhaps change their views of me.
And I realize that one of the biggest differences in me and who I am is judgement. How I desperately try not to judge anyone or any situation because I.just.don’t.know.the.whole.story.
How I feel judged and hate how much judgement hurts.
I say I don’t care.
Most times, I don’t. Most judgement I feel is usually from people who have never put my shoes on.
I don’t tend to get bothered by that kind of judgement because those friends and family members who feel I am not ‘doing’ it right are the well-intended but clueless as to what burying a child is like…the ones who like to practice arm-chair psychology. With grace, I remember they are well-intended.
It attempts to invalidate the grieving process and insists on gnawing at the frazzled and fragile ends of healing we are all attempting to weave back together.
I was keenly aware of this as I was cleaning out Luke’s fall and winter clothes recently. I pulled out a bin of clothes that was sort of a hodge-podge of things and came across several “Big Brother” shirts I’d bought for Luke. Tags still on. Never to be worn.
When Luke was younger, he had a TON of “Little Brother” outfits. Matthew did not live, but that did not mean that Luke was not a little brother, and I proudly put him in those outfits as often as I could. People “Oohed” and “Ahed” when I’d post pictures, and talk about how sweet the remembrance of Matthew was.
So, I asked myself…why did Luke never wear these shirts? He wore a couple for the first trimester, but when we lost Trey, they were put away. New ones with tags sat in bins, waiting.
Forever waiting, with guilt eating at me. Trey did not live, but that does not mean Luke was not a big brother.
Still, his shirts go unworn.
Judgement. I don’t want the judgement.
From family. From friends. Silent or boldly spoken. I know people would be uncomfortable seeing Luke in those shirts. I know that they’d question my emotions and my ‘appropriate grieving.’
They’d be out of line in doing so, because Luke should be able to wear a little and a big brother shirt, but people would judge me anyway.
And since it seems like the grieving are the ones who have to exercise the most grace…I just try not to give any more opportunity for judgement.
I’m small, but scrappy! I have a fierce passion for my family, friends and life in general…I’m a military spouse who has battled infertility for over 13 years, as well as the loss of two babies gone too soon. I love to laugh, and am grateful for every second I celebrate with the ones I love. You can find me at my blog Lori Does Maryland or on Facebook Lori Mullins Ennis or on The Twitter here Lori M. Ennis